Games and Amusements Board chairman Eric Buhain says he expressed his concern like several boxing aficionados about the disparity in size, height, reach and weight between Filipino ring idol Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya but that he never asked the World Boxing Council to cancel the “Dream Match.”
Buhain, in a conversation with www.insidesports.ph, Manila Standard and Viva Sports indicated his surprise over the story that came out this morning.
The fight between the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world and “The Golden Boy” is set to take place at the GMG Grand in Las Vegas on December 6.
The claim that Buhain told congressmen during a budget hearing that he believes Pacquiao has no chance against the bigger De La Hoya and had requested the WBC to call off the fight was reportedly contained in a press release issued by the Office of Congressman Rufus Rodriguez and not from Buhain or the GAB.
Rodriguez said “I think Manny has no chance of winning. De La Hoya who is five inches taller and who is five inches longer in reach than our boxing idol will kill the smaller and lighter Pacquiao.”
Rodriguez was reported to have suggested that Buhain cancel Pacquiao’s license so that Pacquiao “will have a legitimate reason to walk away.”
WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman in an overseas telephone conversation with www.insidesports.ph, Manila Standard and Viva Sports said “we have not received such a request but I personally believe that it’s a match that should not be promoted because of the extreme differences in height and weight.
Sulaiman said “I have my doubts that the WBC can do anything to stop the fight” although he stressed that chairman Buhain and he agree that Pacquiao “is not considering his place in history, his not considering his pride of being a world champion, he is not considering the serious differences where a lower weight beat a higher weight and in this case is not moving from one division to the next but from one to three more divisions.””
Tickets for the fight were sold out within minutes after they went on sale ensuring a huge income at the gate aside from the expected revenues from pay-per-view buys in the US and television rights income from around the world.
WBC founding secretary general Rudy Salud who has always believed that Pacquiao has a good chance of beating De La Hoya stressed that the WBC has “no jurisdiction” over the fight and neither can any other boxing organization.
At the same time Salud assailed the suggestion to cancel Pacquiao’s license saying “it cannot be done unilaterally” by the GAB without a proper hearing. Salud also pointed out that once Pacquiao agreed to fight in Las Vegas , his license falls under the aegis of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
At the same time Salud pointed out that Roy Jones Jr moved up from light heavyweight where the maximum weight was 175 pounds to fight heavyweight champion John Ruiz and in the official weigh-in Jones tipped the scales at 193 while Ruiz was 226 or a difference of 33 pounds, yet Jones won.
Salud went back to the time heavyweight champion Joe Louis scored a 6th round stoppage of the giant Primo Carbera noting that Louis came in at 196 pounds and Carbera at 260 ½ while Louis was 6’@ and Carnera 6 51/2” and in terms of reach it was 76 inches for Louis and 85 inches for Carnera.
Salud insisted “they can claim there is a disparity between the two fighters but they cannot even suggest it is a mismatch because it is not.”
Pacquiao’s lawyer Franklin “Jeng” Gacal in an overseas telephone conversation with www.insidesports.ph said that Pacquiao was initially upset when he heard the story but was “most upset with Congressman Rodriguez” who had claimed the fight was “just about money” and that Pacquiao had “no chance of winning.”
Gacal said that after jogging in the morning Pacquiao played nine holes of golf and was now in San Diego to be at special ringside for the first US promotion by his outfit, MP Promotions headlined by the super bantamweight bout between world-rated Bernabe Concepcion and Mexican champion Caro.
Gacal said Rodriguez’ suggestion that Pacquiao be deprived of his license was “an unpatriotic act” and may derail plans for Pacquiao’s next fight possibly in the Philippines .
Gacal said “if Rodriguez plans to run for senator he should not try to ride on the popularity of Pacquiao.”